I was officially crowned Focaccia-mama by my kids as my newest bake was being devoured, admittedly while I tooted my horn prancing around the kitchen full of pride. I say over and over, I am NOT a baker but have baked for 15 years to fuel my children's memories of a house full of delicious smells and homemade treats on the table. After this experience, I feel like a baker!
Have you watched Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix yet? Stop this post and do so RIGHT NOW. Samin Nostrat is our beloved Bay Area writer, cookbook author and food-enthusiast. I got her book Salt Fat Acid Heat when it came out, filled with cooking tips and instruction on the science of how to achieve flavor perfection along with full-proof recipes. In an earlier Journal entry I wrote about learning to make my first light fluffy biscuits from the book, amazed that a Southern girl moved to California to learn to make a biscuit from a Persian cook! The first Episode of the video series takes you to the Northern region of Italy, to Liguria with all its glorious olive groves and lush mountains, landing us in the kitchen of local cooks, eventually around their dining tables; all narrated by the most jolly, delightful host, Samin. This episode alone will have you wanting to make Liguian Focaccia.
It took me two tries to succeed. Often I am doing 2-3 things at a time, which had me putting only 1/2 the flour in my first attempt. 24 hours later, I realized I had to try again. It was easier the second time. Due to my timing, I used Samin's recipe but followed an overnight method so I could make it fit my schedule. The difference had the first rise take place in the refrigerator for 18 hours, the second proof, after spreading the dough in to the pan, was about 2-3 hours (can go up to 4 if you have a cold kitchen.) Once I saw a nice distribution of bubbles and the dough was room temp, I added the salt brine somewhere 2/3 of the way and let it continue to rise.
Look at this, I love the color, the texture and the salty taste. The hot pan went straight from the oven in to the living room for a photo before the light left the room (one of my biggest challenges is cooking early enough to get good photos.) My son, studying close by, could barely wait for me to take a few photos before reaching over to break off a corner. I soon delivered a hot-from-the-oven square of the bread with a side of marinara sauce made from our canned Summer tomatoes.
We ate Focaccia with dinner and then later gathered around the jar of honey, which we decided was the perfect dessert.